by Jeff Allen
Could we ask for better weather? I spent the entire day traipsing the city, finding sunny little spots to sit down between events and bask in the glow of a clear blue sky. I saw Rodney Scott in the middle of King Street burning logs in a barrel — and if you've ever been to Scott's Variety in Hemingway, SC, then you know what I'm saying here.
If you haven't been to High Cotton in a while, judging from the charcuterie I had for breakfast, its time to check them out again. The "unwrapped" breakfast, put on for journalists and participants laid down a marvelous spread, and I had a nice talk with Andre Guillet from McCrady's over a plate full of coppa, and a grilled bagel piled high with lox and capers. Yum.
I missed the Oxford American lunch, doubled-booked myself with the father-in-law at the culinary village, but saw Matt and Ted Lee prepping up for a demo and scarfed a half pound of steak at the Piggly Wiggly/Angus meat area. They had nice couches for lazing in the sun too.
Tonight it's off to the diversity dinner which I have high expectations for — then perhaps some bubbles and sweets action and the after party at FIG? Whew! Might have to squeeze in another nap.
One thing I've noticed throughout this year's event is the camaraderie amongst chefs. Our entire culinary community consists of folks who genuinely enjoy each other, and who work very closely together to make Charleston dining what it is. The festival has become the place where that connection really reveals itself. I saw it last night, watching the people gather at Charleston Grill. And I heard it in the address that Dick Elliot gave at breakfast. The secret to Charleston's culinary success lies with these people who own, run, and maintain the restaurants we all adore, and their efforts to come together and put our great city in front of the world can be no better appreciated than over a full weekend at Wine + Food.
My hat's off to all of our culinarians, let's hope the waistline can hold the rest of the weekend.